Space Invaders. Pong. Asteroid. Pac-Man. Any of the classics that us 30 somethings and above fondly remember.
A simpler time, with simpler games, that just had one basic premise and a seemingly impossible end goal designed to eat your coins. No season passes, microtransactions or unnecessary inclusions of multiplayer, just simple gameplay. Many have tried to replicate that timeless feeling of simplicity, and some even succeed.
But not Doughlings though. Oh no, not in the slightest. This is a terrible rendition of Space Invaders, complete with trademark infringing characters that is so awful that I feel tainted for having played it.
I mean… look at the damn thing. It looks so terrible that I should be filing a compensation claim for the assault on my eyeballs.
Following on from the events of Doughlings Arcade (a rip off of Breakout instead), in which the little floating scrotums turned on each other, this one involves an alien attack. An invasion, if you will. After resting up from the previous affair, your chosen Doughling will be forced to fight wave after wave of squid-like aliens.
If you’ve ever played any iteration of Space Invaders, you know what to expect. For those unaware, or have kids too young to remember, the concept is simple: enemies, in a lined grid, slowly make their way down screen until there’s no more room to advance. It’s up to you to stop this, by firing upwards and stopping their descent.
Blue enemies take one hit, green take two, with later levels producing different rainbow shades of enemy that subsequently need a few more love taps to eliminate. Occasionally a queen will appear at the top for one pass before disappearing. Nailing her will bag you some extra points at the level, but otherwise they serve no purpose or threat. Each enemy you kill drops a little thumbs up symbol, where collecting ten will let you do your selected character’s showoff move.
These range from a column-focused eye beam, a minigun attack that damages any in range, or an robotically assisted attack that takes out multiple squids. Whilst it is a new take on the standard Space Invaders formula, it’s the sheer execution in which it’s done that is so incredibly tacky.
Remember that particular one eyed-themed X-man that shoots beams from his eyes? Or the robotic suited Avenger, or the seemingly indestructible living tissue over a metal exoskeleton from a certain movie franchise? Well, you won’t need to guess any further as these characters aren’t just an homage in the game, they’re straight up ripped off.
Even Cyclops’ colour pattern (from the comic/cartoon) is the same, as is the Iron Man persona. All the Terminator one had to do was a leather jacket, a metal eye and minigun and your mind instantly goes back to the Cyberdyne building scene. Whilst it is common practice for parody and pastiche in videogames, in that games are usually making nods to others or making suitable references, it’s the blatant copying that seems naff in this one. It’s almost like they’re just waiting for an infringement case. The only thing they’ve changed are the names, but that’s no different than seeing a street vendor selling a Sanic the Hedgehog backpack: you know what it is, I know what it is, you’re fooling no one.
It’s one thing to call your game a tribute, it’s another to throw caution to the wind and just rip off everything you can think of.
In what will probably be the only positive point I make about the game, there is a slight bit of variety with the boss battles. Breaking up the change in scenery after several waves, much like classic platformers, you’ll be faced with a boss battle. Still played in the “shoot upwards until it stops” notion of the motion, it’s a nice little change to break up the mundanity.
Outside of that, it’s just an absolutely bland waste of everyone’s time involved, even Hero Concept’s for going through with it.
As I said at the start, this game looks terrible by even mobile game standards, so to have it on a console is just an absolute waste (but not of memory, can’t imagine it uses much of that). Everything looks flat and uninspired, with backgrounds looking like theatre backdrops rather than having any real depth to them. All of the base enemies look the same, only changing in colour. Each wave looks so copy/paste that they all move and animate in unison.
If this review seems like it’s full of spite and rage, it’s because it mostly is. It’s been an affront on my senses and time for having to play it, and I shall do my best to make sure no one else makes that mistake. Were it a mobile game, it would probably hit middle ground as a terrible ride for the uninspired on long train journeys.
As a console game, it’s a waste of everyone’s time to play a terrible knock off of a timeless classic (of which there are much better versions of out there).
The only thing that’s been invaded is the time I’ve had to sacrifice to play it. I’ve spent more time on this review destroying it.
Doughlings: Invasion is available now.
Developer: Hero Concept
Publisher: Hero Concept
In order to complete this review, we received a promotional code from the publisher. For our full review policy please go here.
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